VILE sex offenders, including those in Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset, are being convicted at the rate of two a day for possessing child abuse images.

The children's charity NSPCC has published analysis that reveals the scale of the online child abuse problem and the challenges police forces face as offenders invent new ways to access the sickening trade.

The NSPCC revealed the snapshot two years after Prime Minister David Cameron made a keynote speech in which he promised law enforcement agencies would be given more powers and challenged search engines to stamp out the disgusting images that are hidden "in the darkest corners of the internet."

Since then, more than 4.5million images have been seized by police in 100 criminal cases taken to court.

Those convicted came from all walks of life but one in three held positions of trust, or had roles that allowed them access to children. They included doctors, teachers, Scout leaders, clergymen, police officers, a magician and a Santa Claus.

The snapshot of 101 offenders, of whom only two were women, included three from Dorset. This included a man from Bournemouth found in possession of more than 11,000 indecent images of children; and a table tennis coach from Poole who was charged with making indecent images of children.

Recent cases reported by the Echo include Clifford Thomas, of Wareham, who was jailed for nine months after tens of thousands of images were found on his computer, and former Bournemouth primary school teacher Ryan Kusminoff, who admitted 15 counts of possessing indecent images and movies of children.

The NSPCC estimates the number of cases reaching court are just a fraction of the overall level of offending with around 50,000 people in the UK thought to be making and sharing the shocking images.

Claire Lilley, Head of Child Safety Online for the NSPCC, said: “The scale of the problem is shocking and even more so because of the number of people who hold positions of trust in our communities. This is just a fragment of the hundreds of other similar convictions during the same time.

“It is a myth that there is no harm in just looking at these images. Defenceless babies and children are being molested to feed the appetite of offenders, and that demand is just not going away.

“The Prime Minister made a bold attempt to tackle this problem, but it is clear that, two years after he called for a crackdown, the scale of the problem is proving to be massive. We need urgent action to prevent this horrendous abuse from appearing online.”